Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

The word sausage comes from the Latin for “salt,” and names a mixture of chopped meat and salt stuffed into an edible tube. Salt plays two important roles in the sausage: it controls the growth of microbes, and it dissolves one of the fiber filament proteins (myosin) out of the muscle fibers and onto the meat surfaces, where it acts as a glue to bind the pieces together. Traditionally the edible container was the animal’s stomach or intestine, and fat accounted for at least a third of the mixture. Today many sausages are housed in artificial casings and contain far less fat.